In previous years I looked at commitment ceremonies in as parts of previous posts which followed up on some analysis across Jamaica for LGBT persons, other similar posts appear on Gay Jamaica Watch, Jamaican LGBT people have been making use of the avenues available to them to publicly as possible celebrate their love lives with friends and supportive family members and at that year in June often seen as the month of weddings there was no exception although the activities seem a little low keyed as years gone by as requests from the two or three Reverends who offer such duties to carry out the services fell. I would normally get calls to act as a witness in them, provide disc jock services for the reception or provide some sort of music on a storage form such as CDs or so.
This time around however as the Christmas holidays approach there has been a pleasant spike in terms of requests and questions/queries from persons in Jamaica seeking a space to have their ceremonies or renewal of ‘vows’ for older couples and as always since I have seen it lesbians tend to be the ones who go into long term unions than gay men but the latter have been taking the plunge as well. Like in part one of this entry the north American and indeed worldwide influences where ‘gay marriage’ is being made or has become legal persons are aspiring for same even if it is not legal yet here but in minds they want to show their love and explore the ceremonial components of a stable union. Foreigners from the United States mostly and as far as France in one case have also made queries via email and at first when I saw it I thought it was a joke or spam only to realise when I answered it was a serious inquiry.
With the advent of business avenues such as Airbnb as well and social media the requests are facilitated way easier than in times past, pink dollar markets are now open to virtually all. Non Jamaican and locals living overseas queries especially from those persons who are restricted by limited budgets or won’t or cannot afford a five star hotel after travelling want a more smaller intimate setting for their commitment ceremony nuptials. Lovely small and relatively reasonable priced spots in Portland, St Thomas and even Kingston outside of the traditional north coast flats are now easier to access directly or through blogs and NGOs. The price point is the key as prospective guests and couples avoid the middle man travel advisors or booking agents and make use of the advantages. Many of these properties under AirBnB and other independent guest house owners are seeing the opportunities as well and who attempt to roll out the red carpet albeit these are owned by heterosexuals. A married couple in Portland who came in contact with me via my blogs some years ago have been keeping in touch with me for some time now and have hosted two of the two ceremonies this year to much success ad satisfaction of the customers.
Same marriage or trans-persons marriages are not legal in Jamaica and may not be so for some time as the main hurdles of law reform on buggery and deep homo-negative and phobia driven stigma are on in earnest. Therefore the resistance to gay marriage is well embedded in all that nonsense and is still seen in this modern age as a method to ‘destroy the family’ when the family as we know and entrenched in the Jamaican constitution as between a man and a woman is already destroyed at best or is in serious trouble by those who already have the rights and privilege. If any damage is being done legal straight married couples (some Christians) are already doing a fine job not to mention those in the church and pulpits struggling with their own sexuality and hiding. At least with same sex marriage it provides some stability and maybe some same sexed married couples when the time comes can adopt children. On average for the past ten years end lots of young marriages end in divorce yet fanatical so called Christians who smear the rest of the church miss that fact that is so obvious. Just take a look at the official figures from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, STATIN:
To unhinge the deeply entrenched definition of marriage in Jamaica as between a man and a woman will take lots of time and political will but the LGBT population though flirted with by politicians in recent years does not command the voting block in sufficient numbers or power from a local standpoint to force legislators to make the change; aforementioned fanatics and anti gay voices also still have large sway over a sometimes obsequious following who can be whipped into a frenzy with just one sentence opposing homosexuality as it were.
The spin offs are also clear in my mind, dress makers, small interior decorators, transportation folks and cake makers/decorators all benefit from the business, one cake maker/decorator a staunch Pentecostal was quite OK after she got involved in providing services for one ceremony, she reportedly jokingly remarked send the business come let the people live their lives.
It would be good if and when persons can get married and enjoy the full state recognition and benefits that flow such as legal coverage, housing and health benefits and the settlement of divorces through the courts to share the material assets and so on. Demanding marriage equality is not a zapper to those who already are allowed to marry and as is deceptively brought through in the subtext of anti gay advocacy. The word “equality” is often overlooked by those who oppose the push for same; and the fearmongering that Jamaica will be punished for same or that such goals are too lofty and imposed by foreigners.
Fortunately I am booked for a few ceremonies this year as opposed to the traditional month of June but the problem (if I can call it so) is the priests and pastors normally used are also busy with their own seasonal duties at their home churches; maybe a friendly Justice of the Peace (JP) may have to be identified.
Hope that the nuptials will have a good life after making their vows and live their dreams.
Peace & tolerance
When did anyone ask for gay marriage rights in Jamaica when we can't get basic tolerance ......... more smokescreen to deny recognition
There goes gay marriage paranoia again
More gay marriage paranoia & hijacking of the homosexual debate by fanatics
Lesbian couple celebrate their marriage locally .........